STD’s and Stirrups on a Monday

“I’ve hit the ground. Gone right through it. Never in my life have I felt this. Nothing like this. I’ve felt shame and cowardice, weakness and strength. I’ve known terror and indifference, self-hate and general disgust. I’ve seen things that cannot be unseen.

And yet I’ve known nothing like this terrible, horrible, paralyzing feeling. I feel crippled. Desperate and out of control. And it keeps getting worse. Every day I feel sick. Empty and somehow aching.” ~ Tahereh Mafi (Destroy Me (Shatter Me, #1.5))

There have been many traumatic moments in this journey as a sex addict’s (ex) wife; this one took me completely off guard.

On a Friday night, my husband revealed to me that he thought he “might be a sex addict”. By Monday afternoon, I was up in the stirrups at my gynecologist’s office being checked for sexually transmitted diseases (STD’s). I’d borne 2 babies by this point in life, so a little pelvic exam/pap smear was nothing to me. I had no reason to think this would be any different, but it was … this time it was very different.

As I lay there in the most vulnerable of positions, I felt deeply violated – not by the doctor, but by my husband and all the strangers he had secretly invited into our bed. As I was probed for the germs of men and women I’d never chosen nor even met, I began to feel filthy and used and worthless.

The reality and gravity of my situation crashed in on me, and I began to sob convulsively. For the first time in my adult life, I couldn’t pull myself together. The doctor finished quickly, sensing correctly that I needed to crawl back into the safety of my own clothing.

And then, somehow, I drove myself home, where I got into the shower, sank to the floor, and sobbed while frantically scrubbing my body. I couldn’t get clean enough.

If you discover that your spouse is a sex addict, please know that getting tested for STD’s in a timely fashion is extremely important, but it is not an emergency. You’ve likely been unknowingly at risk for years, so it’s okay to take the time necessary to arrange for someone to accompany you to the appointment. This is not the time to prove how strong you are by going it alone.

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